Authors : Samuel, K. J., Omobolanle, N. M., Monday, S., & Ebenezer, O
Site of publication: International journal of health sciences
Type of publication: Article
Date of publication: May 2022
After the breakthrough in the developed nations, it was appraised that 2.5 billion people, which represented 40% of global population, are yet deficient of access to basic hygiene and sanitation. One of the objectives of Millennium Development Goal (MDG) is halving the share of populaces that have no access to hygiene and sanitation by 2015. In the sub-Saharan Africa, 50% of the people are being denied of this fundamental human right. The possibility of meeting this goal before 2072 is not feasible if current situation remains.
United Nations General Assembly labelled 2008 as International Year of Sanitation (IYS). It recognized that access to environmental sanitation was critical to guaranteeing healthiness, self-worth and viable socio-economic improvement for the poorest global nations. The essence of sanitation and the consequent numerous advantages are usually inadequately implicit. Hence, the issue of sanitation is not given sufficient consideration that it warrants by administrations and other stakeholders.
The World Health Organization (WHO) evaluations indicate that 88% of the health problems attributable to harmful water supply, sanitation and hygiene ruthlessly affects children in less developed countries. In many less developed countries, poor sanitation generally has worrying effects on the burden of diseases. WHO also estimates that 97,900 people die every year due to poor sanitation.
Liberians would not hastily forget the incidence of Ebola some years ago. Without mincing words, inadequate environmental sanitation practices contributed in no small way to this disease transmission. Deprived housing also contributes to poor environmental health as well as the consequent effects on the health of the resident households. The environmental sanitation-related infections worsen the poverty status of households by weakening household productivity and income.
The problem statement
During Liberian Civil War, deliberate devastation of lives and properties were carried out. This resulted in endless decline in the quality of urban infrastructure. By 2003, access to suitable sanitation infrastructure deteriorated to 7% at the national level. Acknowledging the necessity for enhanced environmental health and its intensification towards meeting the MDGs, the government of Liberia and the development partners have being joining forces together to recover the awful sanitation status, principally in Monrovia that inhabits more than 37% of the country’s population.
The city also serves as the resident for about 70% of the urban population who live in slums and informal communities. The obtainable sewage treatment facility in Monrovia has been reportedly out of operation for several years. Currently, there exist poor and inadequate environmental sanitation conditions in the urban slum communities. Public toilets are in very deplorable conditions, poorly managed, or redundant.
The World Bank made payments to sanitation companies to collect wastes, but waste collections were carried out irregularly (Edwin, 2014). The problem of uncollected garbage in the Paynesville area of Monrovia became so severe that traders and residents burnt the huge garbage piles that was almost cutting off the main road from Monrovia to Kakata. Flooding causes further environmental harms to residents. In 2009, not more than one-third of Monrovia’s 1.5 million people had access to hygienic toilets.
Sampling and analytical techniques
The household heads were selected as respondents for the data collection. A structured questionnaire was used for data collection. The data collected include the demographic characteristics of the households and the sanitary conditions of the households’ environments. After gathering the responses from the households, the Statistical Package for Social Sciences was used for data analysis.
Frequencies and percentages were computed for categorical variables, and multivariate analysis association was examined using the multiple logistic regressions. Statistical significance was tested at the 0.05 level of significance. Out of the 400 copies of the questionnaire administered 383 useable copies (95.75%) of the questionnaire were retrieved.
Conclusion and Recommendations
Based on the findings of this study, the following are recommended to enhance participation in environmental sanitation in this study area and even in the country at large:
- The government should review and update the existing legislation with respect to urban planning, building standards, infrastructure and environmental regulations in order to make them more realistic, attainable and compatible with local conditions.
- Legislations should be entrenched and enforced towards participation in regular community sanitation exercise.
- Health education should be formally introduced at all levels of educational system, and informally at household levels by the local authority and central government, on the need for household hygiene at various homes.
- Religious leaders could also lend their voices in making much emphasis on environmental health and household hygiene, since many citizens belong to one religion or the other, and usually take the words of their religious leaders serious.